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On the anniversary of the imprisonment of the Rossport Five, Shell's peat stripping continues

category mayo | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Sunday July 01, 2007 17:52author by Shell to Sea Report this post to the editors

Bellanaboy, Friday June 29th 2007

In Erris, protests continue every day at the site of the proposed refinery at Bellanaboy, County Mayo.

Last Friday, June 29th, was the second anniversary of the imprisonment of the Rossport Five. The day saw the continuing of the operation to strip the surface peat away from the Bellanaboy refinery site, and as is now normal, local people protesting were joined by supporters of the Shell to Sea campaign from other parts of Ireland and abroad.

As usual, the Garda response to the protests was brutal. One protester was arrested and many more were assaulted. Gardaí also threw activists into the deep ditches near the Bellanaboy site.

Videos of the protests on Friday morning can be seen here:

or check

The Gardaí were said to be surprised at the number of protesters at the site on Friday morning, while many people present complained that the police were suffering from the effects of the night before. Protesters commented on the noticeable smell of alcohol coming from a lot of the officers, and their generally dishevelled appearance, as well as their aggressive and juvenile behaviour. One garda, when confronted with the fact that his behaviour was not acceptable, loudly declared "I'm allowed to drink when I'm off duty!".

Many people are still angry with the Gardaí over their treatment of a local landowner whose property they trespassed onto to allow Shell's contractors to install a security cabin near the pier at Pollotomais, across the estuary from Rossport. The portacabin has recently been removed by Shell, but not before legal action had to be threatened.

Many local people accuse the Gardaí of intimidation of the elderly landowner, putting him under such stress that he had to be admitted to hospital. His family have said that he has been upset by a series of incidents including visits by up to six gardaí to the house. Officers asked him questions and video-taped the responses. However, the Gardaí have denied there was any pressure or intimidation involved.

Over the last few months thousands of tons of surface peat have been removed from the refinery site at Bellanaboy and dumped 11KM away, in advance of the Environmental Protection Agency decision on whether the refinery will receive a licence to operate.

New minister with responsibility for the scheme, Eamon Ryan, has been asked for a meeting with local people and other supporters of Shell to Sea, but so far has not responded. In the coming weeks and months, it is expected that more people from outside the area will join the protests.

One of the Rossport Five, Micheál Ó Seighin said recently:
"We welcome people taking non-violent direction to stop Shell's scheme. This has never been a purely local issue. It has always had national and international dimensions. Not only are people concerned entitled to protest, they are obliged to stand up for what is right.

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many people commented on the smell of alcohol from the Gardaí on duty
many people commented on the smell of alcohol from the Gardaí on duty


A shell contractor with a radio observed the protests from a jeep protected by Gardaí
A shell contractor with a radio observed the protests from a jeep protected by Gardaí

author by Shell to Seapublication date Sun Jul 01, 2007 18:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The activist who was arrested on Friday morning was taken in handcuffs to Bellmullet Garda station where he was detained for four hours before being charged with various public order offences, including that he "did without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, wilfully prevent or interrupt the free passage of a vehicle...".

See also : A Tainted Process, Prosecuting the Gardaí, Court Report, Portacabin incident,






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author by Jackpublication date Mon Jul 02, 2007 14:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Presumably one of Minister Gormley's first undertakings will be to examine the structure, membership and methods of the EPA

author by Editor Sampublication date Mon Jul 02, 2007 18:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

extremely poor report, it seems the point of the article, once again was to abuse Gardai rather to report as per the article heading.

author by bpublication date Mon Jul 02, 2007 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unfortunately, as things stand, the gardaí have allowed themselves to become the public face of Shell.
Of all the organisations to represent, Shell must be the most loathsome.
Should we be surprised if protesters come to resent the guards.

author by Starstruck - WSM (pers cap)publication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 06:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Keep up the good fight S2S!
The Gardai will dish it out to their hearts content but we can take it,every great struggle in histroy faced physical repression but the more of it they dole out the harder it becomes for them to justify their position to the onlooking public.
Keep it up..Shell to Sea!

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author by Questionpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 08:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the photographs a count shows about four civilans and a few gardai AND A SCUFFLE ON A ROAD SOMEWHERE. The same on YOUTUBE. As a suppporter of Shell to Sea I cannot figure if this would measure up to a campaign activity. Very disorganisesd minmal and no message. Does not do the campaign any favours and it appears selective in reportage so probably not the report of Shell to Sea which should mind what represents its activities.

author by Answerpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 08:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

perhaps the turnout wasn't big
does this mean that folks should wait until there is a certainnumber before feeling empowered to take (even small) actions against shell and the cops working for them...sure if that was the case nothing would ever change.

perhaps as a shell to sea supporter you could encourage your local group to take some steps as well to help this community under seige and police harrassment

author by Shell to Sea'erpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were about 40 people in the group where these photographs were taken, about 200 metres from the refinery site main gate. There were more protesters up there as well, making about 70 in total, including three of the Rossport Five.

Earlier in the morning there were probably a few more, since local people have to go to work.

In recent weeks the campaign in Erris has asked people to come and support the daily protests. If you haven't yet, then perhaps you should think about emulating the people in the pictures above and take time off work, spend some of your money, put yourself to some trouble, and go. Then if keyboard critics count the numbers attending you'll be counted too.

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 13:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done again to Shell to Sea supporters on their brave non-violent protest at Bellanaboy. The video shows clearly a Garda flinging one of you into the drain. Once again this is disgracefu conduct on behalf of the Gardaí.

This is an outrage and must be roundly condemned.

The lament played in the background must have an effect on whatever decent members of the force were present as must the words of Willie Corduff while another member of the force videos him, allowing a straois to come to his lips every now and again as if all this tragedy that is happening in Mayo was great fun

I hope decent Gardaí everywhere will listen to Willie's final words: "For God's sake cop yourselves on".

author by Mayo News Readerpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 16:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An Taisce concern

Mayo News 3/7/2007

Olof Gill

The Irish environmental organisation, An Taisce, has lodged an objection with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), informing them of their concerns over the proposed location of the Corrib gas terminal at Bellanaboy.

Following a recent hearing, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering Shell E&P Ireland’s application for an integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) licence for the terminal project.

Speaking to The Mayo News, An Taisce’s Frank Corcoran explained that there were, in the view of the organisation, several dangers posed by the proposed siting of the terminal. Firstly, An Taisce is adamant that the proposed route of the pipeline is too close to homes in the north Mayo area. “Pipes with such high pressure should be further from residences,” he explained.

Secondly, the location puts in danger the local riverwater catchment, and the fishing industry, which is centred around these waterways. Most importantly, however, is the risk of contaminating the local water catchment – the primary water supply of 10,000 people in the area.
Mr Corcoran, a lecturer in environmental law at the Dublin Institute of Technology and a former chairman of An Taisce, was invited to attend a parish meeting in the area last Friday, where approximately 140 local residents were gathered. While Mr Corcoran was quick to emphasise that An Taisce do not agree with Shell to Sea’s tactics, he told The Mayo News that Shell ‘picked a strange site’, and he hoped the EPA would recognise this fact. “It has to be done right,” he said. “The present site presents too great a risk.”

An Taisce is concerned that Ireland could face enormous fines if it permits terminal to be built in a major drinking water catchment area. “Ireland has already been in breach of EU drinking water regulations, and if we break the again we would face massive fines for persistent breach,” he said.
Should the EPA fail to consider these risks in its autumn evaluation, An Taisce is prepared to lodge a legal complaint to the European Commission. “I think local people appreciate that An Taisce has responded to these applications,” he said, concluding that “it’s not difficult to do this right.”

Meanwhile, Shell Ireland described last Friday’s completion of the Bellanaboy peat haulage operation as ‘a significant milestone on the Corrib natural gas project’. This operation – a key requirement in the October 2005 granting of planning permission for the Corrib onshore gas terminal – involved the removal of circa 450,000 tonnes of peat from the site of the onshore terminal at Bellanaboy to a cut-over Bord na Móna site 11km away at Srahmore.

The operation was completed, according to Shell, ‘without any safety incidents, ahead of schedule and with minimal disruption to local residents’. One-hundred-thousand tonnes of peat were moved in 2005, with the remaining 350,000 tonnes removed this year. The operation began in April and involved some 20,000 round trips with trucks driving nearly 500,000km.

author by Spublication date Wed Jul 04, 2007 14:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's obvious that the Gardaí aren't being impartial in Mayo. They are clearly doing their best to make things as easy as possible for Shell.


author by centre rightpublication date Fri Jul 06, 2007 09:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

fair play to the Gardai for enforcing the democratic will of the decent silent majority of the country

author by frankpublication date Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There is evidence from videos of youth, women and the elderly being pushed and beaten by Gardai without provocation. Even high ranking officers were personally involved in beating up protestors."

this according to CENTRE RIGHT is democracy in action.

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author by centre rightpublication date Sun Jul 08, 2007 19:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

ya the Gardai are enforcing the law, if people disagree wth the law or believe that it is unconstitional then the High Court is the venue to visit to try and get the the projet stopped, or deemed illegal, but sorry I forgot the Courts are not independent and will do what ever the Government, Gardai, Department of Justice, Department of the Environment, of Private Corporations want, without reference to the Law ( passed by the Dail ie representativies of the People ) theConstitution, European Law etc

author by soundmigrationpublication date Sun Jul 08, 2007 19:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yeah centre write!!!

like the decent silent majority that throughout history have supported the abuse of power of those in authority against the insignificant communities....perhaps in the light of your support of democracy your support a call for a fully informed public debate followed by a referendum on the explotation of our finite resources for the benefit of private corporations rather than for the benefit of our population(including those now silent)

i guess this is the same silent majority that through their silence support the militarization of Shannon airport by the US, and sure the same silent majority of the population support the organised cover up by the church and state bodies of the sexual exploitation of so many children in their care over the years...

cop on dear oh dear your logic and arguments are so baseless as to warrant laughter if they were not founded upon such an incidious interpretation of democracy that is the crux of the right!!!

silence equals support, but lets crush those who over come fear to voice their opposition.....proper blue shirt mentality alright

author by frankpublication date Sun Jul 08, 2007 20:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Centre Right - let's say the protesters somehow manage to take the gardaí to the high court, or even the supreme court AND win their case. The court issues a judgement against the guards - now, who do you think would be required to enforce such a judgement- that's right - THE GUARDS.
Maybe now you understand what a grave matter it is when the forces of law and order take the law into their own hands and become judge and jury to issue summary 'justice'

author by truth maybe?publication date Sun Jul 08, 2007 20:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Frank provides a link to the GCM report, but he fails to provide a link to the detailed submissions made by the people providing the evidence .

when Ed Moran (S2S) was giving his evidence he says

"There was the incident regarding Maura Harrington, where

she was literally thrown to the ground. I happened to be a little distant from the

incident as it happened but I was close enough to see the general picture, and when I

watched it on television afterwards, on the RTE report, it was quite clear from that

picture – and that picture is available - that she was literally thrown to the ground.

As she lay prostrate on the ground nobody was doing very much by way of getting

any aid for her. An ambulance in the employ of Shell came by. I was between the

ambulance and Maura, in other words there was no more than 10 feet between the

ambulance and Maura lying on the ground. The ambulance seemed to look and see

– they could clearly see somebody was lying on the ground. The Gardai waved

them on, the Gardai did not ask them to help, the Gardai waved them on and they

went on. I was shocked and horrified later to find that that was actually a Red Cross

ambulance and that a Red Cross ambulance had seen somebody lying on the ground

yet had been directed by the Gardai to go on."

The people from GMC who were supposed to be here on a fact finding mission, never even questioned the fact that it was Maura Harrington who refused to allow the red cross to give her any help (fact finding?).

author by frankpublication date Sun Jul 08, 2007 21:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a bit lengthy but worth repeating. If Indy. monitor wishes to delete this I won't be offended.

MR ED COLLINS: Good evening. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for taking the time to speak to me. My name is Edward Collins. I have been a peaceful protester for two years at the Bellanaboy gate. I do it for my children and their children. My particular situation, I was born in America of all-Irish descent. I feel it’s my duty to help my neighbours to protest, to alleviate this project, to make it go away to sea. A strange few things happened to me in the beginning.

I have been beaten, assaulted, kicked, choked, punched. I made small statements, I never ever made a complaint. But I will tell you my complaints now. I will start off: I was taking photographs of the protest on the morning of November 10, 2006. When we walked away they were smashing a car when we came around the side and we were going up towards Bellanaboy bridge, there were about 40 of us.

I was taking photographs. Sixty or more Gards came up to us. There were 3
Gards behind us. They surrounded us. The force was like a tidal wave. They
compacted us. They threw their jibes, they threw their punches and kicks. I managed to go at the back of the gate – at the back of where the Gards were – and was walking, proceeding down the road. I put my camera away under my jacket because it was starting to rain out. A BanGarda ran up to me, she *grabbed me by the arms, I told her I was going home. She said with foul language, “You’re fucking not going anywhere.” I said, “Please, I want to go home.” Once again she said I’m not going anywhere. She proceeded to grab my thumbs and laid in a series of kicks at my legs, she kicked me in the privates, she kicked me in my groin. I bent over.

She grabbed me by my camera strap, she started swinging me. All of a sudden a Garda I believe is GW 304, he’s about six-five and about 270, came running, charging, at me with kicks. He gave me such a kick and a shove I flew about six feet in the air, with the BanGarda because she had her hand wrapped around my camera strap when she was pulling me. We flew down a 15-foot drain. She landed face-down, I landed sitting down. I had water up to my waist. I thought – I don't know what I thought, do you know, but I panicked. I scrambled up. Three Gards ran down and picked her up. I asked for help, they told me to go fuck myself. I pulled myself up and I heard shouts and screams up on the street, I couldn’t see. Some people tried to rescue me but were pushed and kicked back. Finally two people did manage to come and pull me up. I laid on the road for about an hour.

Anyways, an ambulance came and it was a site ambulance and they looked at
me and they said I was finished, there was nothing they could do, so they drove

About 40 minutes later another ambulance came and they took me to the
hospital. On arrival I guess, I couldn’t breathe, I was in excruciating pain all over my body, my blood pressure was 193:120. I had a series of pain medication injections. I was sent to the orthopaedic ward. I had serious contusion in my lower back and I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t feel my feet, I couldn’t move my toes for three days in the hospital. They said I would get better, they sent me home. I went into another hospital.

The next morning my legs swelled up twice the size. They sent me back to the hospital, where they took x-rays and they sent me home again and said I would get better within three weeks. It has now been 15 weeks. I was at the hospital this morning for MRI. It seems that I was kicked so forcibly in the back of the knee that my leg and my knee is going two different directions, and I probably will have surgery within the next 10 days.

That was why I made a complaint. I have been kicked and battered from Day One. I just took it that I knew it was wrong for them to be doing it but I’m a big boy and I thought, you know, I wasn’t going to make a fuss about what they were doing.

I’ve had a Sergeant Gill from Bangor Erris, he actually charged at me with his open fist and throttled me by the neck and kicked me in my right knee. I had to forcibly remove his hand before he made me go unconscious. I had another Gard throw me off a car and crack my right knee, I was on crutches for two weeks, pain medication.

I found the treatment of An Garda Siochana appalling. It seems that they take it
upon themselves to do anything and everything to subdue us, and I don't think it’s right. Like I said, I have been charged at, kicked at, kneed in the face when we sat down on the road, it’s just - and sometimes, sometimes I get afraid, but I have to tell myself, “Don’t be afraid, I have done nothing wrong, I only stood and it was a peaceful protest.”

*Is this man also a liar? I think the crutches tell us otherwise.

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author by Henry Dunantpublication date Mon Jul 09, 2007 15:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In February a proterster was injured while on the site of the proposed refinery at Bellanaboy.

The site medics administered first aid and advised that the injured person go immediately to Casualty at Castlebar Hospital.

However, they did not use their ambulance to do this, but instead drove as far as the gate of the site where the injured person had to get out and walk through a large group of Gardaí.

Eventually the injured protester was taken by car to hospital, was admitted and had to have surgery.

The site medical workers asked that the sling they had provided be returned to them.

author by bewilderedpublication date Mon Jul 09, 2007 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Henry and frank are missing the point made by "truth maybe".
the fact that Mr. Moran said what he said to the "INTERNATIONAL DELEGATION OF ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND
Mr. Moran knew better than most what happened that day, and all the media coverage it received for some time afterwards.
I wonder if the Testimony's were given under oath?.
when a leading member of shell-to-sea is willing to tell such fiction to an international group of human rights specialists how are people to believe anything we hear from Shell to sea?
also the argument used by the "chief" pat O'Donnell that because he had helped in a rescue some years ago where Gardai were involved he should be treated differently to everyone else.
where is the logic in that argument?
I think it only fair that GMC be contacted, and informed that the Testimony given by Mr. Moran is inaccurate, this might help them to have a more balanced view on the credibility of the evidence they were given when in Ireland!

author by Donpublication date Mon Jul 09, 2007 20:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If so, yes they should go to jail. The Gardaí are usually to soft on people. I will admit however, they are randomly too hard.

author by frankpublication date Mon Jul 09, 2007 23:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just wondering - when you are losing the debate - throw mud! Some of it might stick.

Bewildered - the important point is the behaviour of our poilice force not whether some bit-player
might or might not have told a porkie. You are deliberately trying to steer the debate in a no-account

Why has RTE, the state broadcaster, censored the GMC report? What are they trying to hide?

author by Erris Exilepublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To be honest I don't think it is mud slinging - I think people who read the posted comments should know who the interested parties are on both sides, and if it involves someone who has 'dealings' with the Gardai on some other matter then so be it. Remember the Irish media reported on Mrs Harrington's court case in Galway when she was up for drunken behaviour - she broke the law and the public had a right to know about it irrespective of who she is or what her personal interest may be. Fair is fair - let people know who is involved and what their characters are like. It mightn't protray S2S members, or any other interested party's members for that matter, in a favourable light but at least it portrays them accurately.

I know a lot of people on both sides of this debate, living in the area and also further afield, but it is interesting to read additional background on people, especially when it comes to breaking the law. As I said, fair is fair and people have a right to know. It is not mud slinging.

author by bewilderedpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 19:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Frank wrote
"Bewildered - the important point is the behaviour of our poilice force not whether some bit-player
might or might not have told a porkie. You are deliberately trying to steer the debate in a no-account

The "some bit-player might or might not have told a porkie." is one of, if not THE leading member of S2S, himself and his wife are seen as the brains of the group .
and Frank would know this if he was as informed as he pretends, my point was,if GMC took that Testimony as fact then their whole report is flawed and useless!

I would have thought that such a high profile organisation would at least have done a little research to confirm the stories were true.
It reminds me of the doctored video of the garda punching a girl at one of the protests, S2S used it as if it were true and as soon as it was shown to be fake they just forgot about it.
similar with the bloodied face of an unnamed man on the S2S website after the 10/11/06 protest, if that man was at the protest and recieved those injuries, how come nobody knows him?

So who are the spin doctors and liers?

author by frankpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 23:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

bewildered - your priority is nit-pickling the GMC report.
Pity you have no concern for true law and order.
" When the wise man points at the moon all the fool sees is the dirt on his finger" - Chinese proverb

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author by Chekovpublication date Tue Jul 10, 2007 23:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I would have thought that such a high profile organisation would at least have done a little research to confirm the stories were true.
It reminds me of the doctored video of the garda punching a girl at one of the protests, S2S used it as if it were true and as soon as it was shown to be fake they just forgot about it.
similar with the bloodied face of an unnamed man on the S2S website after the 10/11/06 protest, if that man was at the protest and recieved those injuries, how come nobody knows him?

So who are the spin doctors and liers?"

You are. I know the man from 10/11/06 as do many others. The bit about a doctored video is also a total lie on your behalf.

So, what variety of spin-doctor are you?

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